If you’re like me you have a lot of favorite books. You read them again and again until the pages fall out and the cover is worn and faded.  

I still read books I discovered in my youth, for instance, James and the Giant Peach by Ronald Dahl. I love this timeless story and have read it to my grandsons numerous times. They adore it as much as I do. I’m sure you’re familiar with the tale. It’s about an orphan boy (James) who lives with his two terrible aunts after his parents are killed by a rhinoceros that has escaped from the zoo. To evade his guardians’ cruelty, he befriends six human-like bugs that live inside a giant peach. Together James and his new friends embark on a journey that takes them on a cross-country adventure that completely changes his unhappy existence. 
The book is a triumph because it doesn’t just entertain. It shows James’ search for happiness, love, and freedom. Filled with ferocious courage, he faces his struggles with wisdom and humor.

For the past two nights, I’ve been reading The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg to my grandsons before tucking them into bed. It’s another story with a powerful message, and even though Triston and Ivan have seen the movie, the book still captures their imaginations. In it a boy who doubts the magic of Christmas, boards a train and takes a fantastic ride to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Along the way his doubt disappear as he discovers that the true spirit of Chrismas never fades if you believe. It’s a message of faith.
Now it’s your turn. Have these or other stories touched you in a profound way?

Please help me welcome Jamie Lee Scott. She's feeling
generous today.

Jamie, kick off your shoes and relax.
Would you like a cup of cocoa, coffee, or hot tea?
N0w, about your title, inquiring minds want to know how you decided on that one.

DINNER CONVERSATION

Whether it’s a family function, or dinner with friends, once someone realizes I’m an author who writes mysteries, the conversation always turns to murder. Not just murder, but how to get away with it.

I find this strange, since the bad guys in my novels always get caught. I mean if they get caught, how would I know how to kill someone and get away with it? Oh, but the thing is, I do.

Long before I ever sat at the computer to write my own prose, I was a reader, and a voracious one at that. My genre of choice was mysteries, romantic suspense, and thrillers. I was ecstatic when I realized there were conferences you could attend and meet mystery authors and learn about writing. So I promptly booked my ticket and went to a Bouchercon Convention.

Knowing, someday I’d write a novel, I attended the workshops for writers. One of the workshops I attended had a pharmacist as the guest speaker. She offered up tidbits I still use in conversations. Like the fact that overdosing on aspirin will only get your stomach pumped, or at the very least give you a crappy stomach ache. If you really wanted to kill someone, use Tylenol. I won’t go into the specifics, but suffice it to say, that one is in my bag of tricks for a future novel.

Then there are the things we never think of, like mercury. We put those poisonous sticks of glass in our mouths to check our temperature, before anyone knew any better. Well, mercury is a slow and painful death. The pharmacist offered up a method of killing with mercury poisoning. Again, no specifics because I don’t want to be liable for aiding and abetting, this method includes one of those old thermometers, a light bulb with a divot, and someone who burns the midnight oil. Mercury vapor is also deadly. Just sayin’.

My dinner companions usually have a few ideas of their own, and once in awhile I find on creative enough to jot down the details. Oh, the life of a mystery author.

Website: www.jamieleescott.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Jamie.JLD

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jamie_ld


LET US PREY, excerpt

When you work as a private detective, there are two things that are certain; you’ll be bored nearly to death by a long stakeout, and you’ll have to pee at some time during that stakeout. I was approaching the “have to pee” stage when my cell phone rang.

“Speak to me.”

“Nice, very professional,” Charles said.

“I try. What’s up?”

“I’ve got Jackie coming to relieve you. I have sort of an emergency at the office. The client is on her way now.” There was an undertone to Charles’s voice that put me on alert.

Before I could respond he hung up.

I’m Mimi Capurro, and I own Gotcha Detective Agency. We’re a fledgling agency on the Central Coast of California. I’m a former Secret Service agent. I left the job to start a family with my husband, Dominic, but the family plans hit a major road block when Dominic died in a plane crash a year after we married. Gotcha is my way of trying to move on, and I’ve put all of my time and energy into growing the business. Some days are easier than others.

Charles Parks is my right-hand man. He’s from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. I met him while I was protecting a former first lady. Charles is not only one of my best friends, but he’s a genius with computers, business, and defense.

Jackie Baccarin, who was coming to relieve me, was my best friend. Normally I would never recommend going into business with friends, but these were friends with talent. Jackie could pee in a freaking coffee can without ever leaving her stakeout post. Now that’s talent. And like me, she needed an outlet. She’d lost her husband too. Only she’d killed hers. Not literally, it’s just that as far as she was concerned, he was dead.


Don't forget to comment or ask a question for a chance to win an ebook.

Website: www.jamieleescott.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Jamie.JLD

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jamie_ld


What is your favorite Christmas story, movie, play, poem, television show, or whatever? I love It's a Wonderful Life, almost any Santa story, A Christmas Carol, .

Spill, what's yours?


The Shenandoah Valley, December 1968

Still muttering, Ella grabbed the mop in the corner and stumped over in faded house shoes and support hose to attack the puddle spreading on the linoleum beyond the small braided rug where Bailey stood.

Part Cherokee, part Negro, and part Bailey wasn’t sure what, maybe past slave owner as some of those men had sired offspring, Ella ruled the kitchen and most of the house. She wouldn’t allow a scrap of a kitten inside let alone a collie, and soft-spoken Aunt Meg deferred to her wishes. However, Ella insisted she knew her place and housed herself, Old John, and Rosa Mae out in the old kitchen behind the house, more of a cottage now, with a big hearth she put to use.

With a decided “Humph,” Ella restored the mop and tugged at the wool wrapping Bailey like a mummy. “Where you been, child? Don’t you go fretting your Aunt now.”

“No. Sorry. Lost track of time.” Easily done here.

Clucking disapproval, Ella helped Bailey struggle out of the too-big coat then hung her wraps from the hooks on one pale yellow wall. “Can’t stand about in them stocking feet. Catch your death.”

Ella snatched pink slippers from an assortment in the cupboard and nudged Bailey’s numb toes into the fuzzy footwear. She then inspected her as she might a stray dog, only a dog wouldn’t get this far.

“That mane of yours could do with taming, like a half wild pony.” She ran her critical gaze over Bailey’s frayed sweater and jeans. “Don’t you got nothing better to wear? Look like a bum coming round the house.” She sniffed. “Smell like one too.”

“It’s incense—”

“I told you not to be burning that stuff. Set the house on fire next thing. And don’t you be thinking ‘bout coloring on them walls.”

A reference to Bailey’s bedroom murals at home. She’d had to begin somewhere with her art. No one accused Michelangelo of coloring on the ceiling.

“You go and git a nice hot bath and find something pretty to put on.”

“Ella—”
She held up a righteous hand with the demeanor of a pastor about to deliver a sermon. “You’ll be glad enough to fix yourself up when you hear who’s coming.”

Bailey considered the muted excitement in Ella’s coffee-colored eyes. “Santa Claus?”

Ella cocked her gray head at a jaunty angle. “Better.”

“Than Santa? Who?”
Ella played her trump card. “Mr. Eric hisself.”

Bailey’s heart lurched. “He’s back on furlough?”

“Nope. Called from the train station to say he’s home for good. Never said nothing before. Wanted to surprise Miss Meg.
He sure did, right enough. She’s bubbling over. Rosa Mae drove her into town to fetch him. What do you think of that, Miss?”

Quite a lot.  Bailey’s mind swirled with images of Eric Burke before he’d joined the Marines and shipped off to Vietnam. Though on the serious side, he was gifted with flashes of wit and a smile that charged his average good looks with masculine glory…
…The news about Eric had made her momentarily forget the figure upstairs. “Which room are you putting him in?”

Ella reached into the cabinet for the shortening. “His own, of course. The white room.”

Old Southern homes had names, as did the rooms. Bailey slept in the yellow room across the far hall from the more austere white room outfitted with Eric’s school pennants, trophies, and other masculine decor. Aunt Meg was on the other side of Bailey in the rose room, its walls papered with flowers. A second hall ran past Bailey and Aunt Meg’s rooms and led to the stairs.

“What about the room at the end of the front hall? The one on the right?” Bailey didn’t know its name.

Ella shook her head. “No one uses that one.”

“That’s what I thought, but…”
Ella shot her a glance over her shoulder. “What?”

“Thought I saw a light on in there a little while ago.”

She frowned. “Can’t. No one’s there.”

Which left Bailey to arrive at the only logical conclusions, either Maple Hill was haunted or she was losing her mind. She wondered if Eric would find her particular brand of insanity charming or downright weird, or whether he’d even notice her at all.~

*Image of the old Virginia family homeplace
*Ella was my dad’s outspoken housekeeper when he was growing up.  She died before my time but I heard enough stories about her to feel like I knew her.

***Somewhere the Bells Ring is available in various ebook formats at The Wild Rose PressAmazon Kindle, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook & other online booksellers.


Yes today is Thanksgiving day. The day we are all supposed to eat turkey, cranberries and the usual green bean casserole, yams, creamed onions. Wait, unless you are married to a turkey hater. Yes, you heard me right, a darn turkey hater. Not it ain't that he likes to keep the poor buggers alive or anything. He is not on a save the turkey kick or more beef...save a turkey eat more chicken??
         
Is it ham that turns him on. Nope he don't really like ham. Forget the ham.

So what is it that turns him off turkey? It's cheap. Not that he cares that it's cheap now. It's always been cheaper to buy a turkey then a rib roast eh?
When I had my first apartment I would buy a turkey almost every week. I could buy a turkey for four dollars, a bag of rice, potatoes, and lettuce. I was on a roll. Turkey soup, turkey croquet's, turkey sandwich, turkey dinner, turkey, turkey, TURKEY!!!!
It was hard paying high rent, utilities, and buying food and be able to be picky. So we ate a lot of tukey.
As far as Chris is concerned, let the turkeys go!
 You know what he wants for Thanksgiving??????
 Lamb!

Me I look at it like this. As long as it ain't Bambi, I'm okay. And whatever you do don't take me to no turkey or chicken farm. I prefer mine from the grocery story. Yes! ON SALE! Turkey forever!!!



At the McQueen household, Thanksgivings alway start out great. We have good intentions, each of us promising ourselves that this year we'll make an effort to be good and decent people.




We'll ignore the brother-in-law that brags non-stop and even congratulate him on single-handedly saving a fortune 500 hundred company from imminent collapse. Yes, we know it's unfair he didn't get any type of compensation, or that the CEO doesn't even know he exists, but good job nonetheless!


We promise to ignore that Uncle Frank, is taking way t0o long in the bathroom. It is a lot of work after all to work his way past women's underwear and possibly modeling in front of the mirror as we speak. (Ewww)


When the one sister complains she couldn't possibly eat another bite after her third plate, and insist the aerobics classes have helped maintain her figure, we won't point out that she's bigger than last year.


Yes, so everything other Thanksgiving has ended with at least one argument when someone takes offense at another's remark. Yes I may have accidentally kissed your boyfriend in sixth grade, and so what if I told mom you're the one that burned the countertop.


Pass the damn gravy!




Hildie McQueen's Debut Novel Desperate Betrayal is available on Amazon.com now!


Get to know me better at my blog: http://www.hildiemqueen.com/


"Because sometimes betrayal is the only way to save the ones you love"


“HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD”


On a recent re-run of Jeopardy, the question was asked: ‘How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns?

I certainly didn’t know the answer, didn’t even know there was a specific number, and it made me think back to when I was privileged to watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and it’s a very solemn and stirring sight. A uniformed officer explained the meaning to the gathered crowd and exactly what is going to happen. He explains that everyone is expected to remain silent and not speak during the exchange which takes a very short time considering what an important event it is. Filming was allowed and I captured the event with my Kodak 8 mm. The film still exists, old as it is.

On March 25, 1926 orders were sent down directing the formation of an armed military guard at the Tomb, during daylight hours because visitors to the cemetery were using the original crypt as a picnic table.

On July 2, 1937, the guard was increased in size, and ordered to begin 24 hour shifts.

Here are some facts I’m certain hardly anyone knows and after learning them, you may have more than a little respect for the men chosen for this patriotic task.

The guard takes 21 steps during his walk in front of the tomb. This alludes to the 21-gun salute, the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary. Before his about face to begin his return walk, he hesitates 21 seconds, for the same reason.

His gloves are wet, moistened to prevent his losing his grip on his rifle. He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb except when he executes the about-face. Then he moves it to the outside shoulder.

Guards are changed every 2 hours, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, since 1930.

REQUIREMENTS FOR BEING A GUARD (called the Sentinel)

He must be at least 22 and have the rank of Private First Class through Specialist

He must be between 5’10” anda 6’2”; his waist size must not exceed 30”. There are three Reliefs (divided into heights) and one can tell the time by which the height of the Relief is working:

1st Relief 6'2" to 6'4"

2nd Relief 6' to 6'2"

3rd Relief 5'11" to 6'

For 2 years, he will live in a barracks under the tomb and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of his life. For the first six months, a guard isn’t allowed to speak to anyone or watch TV. In off-duty hours, the guard spend his time memorizing the 175 notable people buried in Arlington Cemetary.

He cannot swear in public for the rest of his life and cannot disgrace the uniform or tomb by any word or action.

After 2 years, he is given a wreath lapel pen a guard must obey the above rules for the rest of his life or give up his pin.

UNIFORM

The uniform must have no wrinkled, folds, or link. Shoes are specially-made with thicks soles to keep heat in and cold out. They have metal heel plates extending to the top of the shoe to make the loud click as they come to a halt. Guards dress in front of a full-length mirror. Every guard spends 5 hours a day getting ready for guard duty.

DEVOTION TO DUTY

Even during Hurricane Isabelle in 2002, when guards were permission to leave the tomb, they respectfully refused and continued to perform the highest honor given to service personnel.

Our guest Editor, sharon L. Connors

Posted by Mary Marvella | 12:17 AM | 11 comments »

Sharon stopped by and left us food for thought! (Actually, I threatened her if she didn't come inside and share our fireplace and her expertise.) Take it away, Madame Editor.

Hello Fuzzies and readers!

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Shar, and I recently was invited to join you as a guest editor. I am very excited to share editing tips as well what editors look for in submissions periodically here at The Pink Fuzzie Slipper Writers. I am currently pursuing free-lance editing, but have over 15 years of experience in the business of editing and writing from both sides of the proverbial fence.

I’d like to share a bit of background information today.

I edited for ePress-Online for more than ten years. ePress published fiction and non-fiction genres such as craft writing books, science fiction, mystery, as well tested the waters with a bit of romance and paranormal of which was my expertise. I worked exclusively with the mystery, paranormal, and romance genres. Unfortunately, the two wonderful women who owned and managed this press died several months from one another last year and ePress had to disband and shut its doors.

I have many books behind me that I have aided on the road to publication. And for me it is with great satisfaction that I was able to have a hand in helping so many authors to their dream. I am most comfortable working and teaching authors the mechanics, skills, as well smoothing out the rough edges of a piece to make it shine its best.

What I look for in a manuscript:

· A strong beginning hook—fierce conflict or action that will pull me right into the story and drive me to keep turning pages.

· Strong imagery and scene setting using the senses. I want to feel as if I am standing right there with the characters. I want to smell them, feel them, hear the rumbling of the truck two blocks away, the bluejays quibbling in the trees, the wind tossing my hair about. You get the picture.

· Well-fleshed out characters. Give them three dimensional personas. Realistic faults, weaknesses, conflict. I want to relate to them. I want to dislike the antagonist, and love the hero/heroine. I want to feel as if I truly know this person and what makes them tick.

· Clear concise language. Active fast-moving plot. A continuous story threading which is tied up in a tight little bow at the end.

· Active and vivid verbs not passive slow rambling prose.

· The classic rising curve to the climax and the smooth tumble to the ending.

I could keep going but will stop there. My main point is to point out the fact that as an editor, I am searching for the cream of the crop. The manuscript that catches my interest in the first paragraph and keeps it through to the end. Active voice (Show don’t tell) rather than passive summary and use of the senses to create awesome imagery. If you’ve accomplished that much you may just keep my nose in your manuscript for a full read.

Thank you for stopping by today and don’t hesitate to ask questions. I will drop in from time to time throughout the day.

Sharon L. Connors
Copy Editor/Proofreader of Fiction
Paranormal, Crime Suspense, Fantasy, Urban

sharlcediting@aol.com


Thanks for stopping by! Okay, folks, ask away! Make her work to earn her money.(just kidding)